Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The problem with liberalism

Lawrence Auster puts it well:

What is liberalism? The reduction of all values to the radically autonomous self and the equality of all such selves, and thus the emptying from life of every substantive good that is larger than or outside of the autonomous self. But the problem is, once all larger substantive goods have been gotten rid of, and the only thing left is the autonomous self and its free choices, what goods are left for the freely choosing autonomous self to choose?

Auster posed the question to explain why two American girls would be attracted to a sex and death music subculture, leading to their own murder. He observes that sex and death are two significant aspects of existence left to the liberal autonomous self.

The other side to the answer, though, is that once you get rid of the larger substantive goods you are left with the trivial ones. The autonomous self can encompass smaller goods such as entertainments, dining experiences, consumer choices, socialising and so on - so this is what the modern West excels at.

1 comment:

  1. I'm learning. :)

    Eros for God (typified by the saints) and its flow into agape is pushed out of public life by libido liberalism. Sex, the only source of transcendence liberal clones (us) have left, is inherently disordered under the unbound will/desire that liberalism seeks to 'manage', so the law of diminishing returns applies. Well of sexual pleasure runs dry - endless talk about how to find more! If I understand you, sex when no longer fruitful and life giving, (seperated from its natural end) tends towards disintegration of the personality. (and endless chatter about it) And social science data is unequivocal now re: horror of sexual revolution.

    Death: obviously resists secularisation - liberal clones (us) take on a fascination with it for this reason and put skulls on our clothing, cars (and bras) - but real understanding alludes, some actually embrace death? God help us.

    Makes me marvel even more thinking about Christ's defeat of death, the representation of the merits of this victory in the sacrifice of the Mass - and its guaranteed means to death's mastery.